Saturday, June 3, 2017

Left Forum 2017 - Saturday Plenary

 

State of the Struggle: Reflecting on "Resistance”

This is a panel from the 2017 Left Forum, held June 2 - 4 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The conference theme was "The Resistance."

From the Organizers:

Activists, community organizers and grassroots leaders have vowed to continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Acting on an order from president Trump, the Army Corps of Engineers said it would grant the easement that Energy Transfer Partners needs to finish the final stretch of the pipeline. It also canceled an environmental review the Corps said it would undertake while President Barack Obama was still in office. Some might say the resistance fight was lost!

This plenary attempts to answer the following questions; did or does resistance alone work towards the ultimate goal of social change? Women seemed to be at the forefront of the Standing Rock struggle, are women rising up and taking the lead in our social struggles? The Women's March in January 2017 saw massive protests around the country and around the world. On March 8, women from 30 countries participated in the Women's Strike; organization for a May Day general strike is building on that momentum. Could this be a sign of things to come? Do we need more than resistance? What are the lessons learned? How can we build a global movement of resistance which brings together movements fighting similar issues and eventually leads to a new society?

Moderator:

Felipe Coronel, known as Immortal Technique, is a recording artist, filmmaker, writer, and activist. Hailing from Peru, by way of Harlem, New York, he is one of the highest selling independent artists putting forth a combination of globally themed revolutionary music with a gritty reality based street Hip-Hop. Not only is he an artist, but also a human rights advocate having traveled to places like Haiti & Afghanistan to provide relief through various non-profits. He has also participated in several teaching workshops for adult prisons and juvenile facilities. As the President of Viper Records, with 4 full studio albums, 3 mixtapes, with over 250,000 records sold, he has the Hip-Hop community highly anticipating his 5th studio album, The Middle Passage.

Panelists:

Tithi Bhattacharya teaches South Asian history at Purdue University. She is a long time activist for Palestine and writes extensively on Marxism and gender. She is a national organizer for the International Women's Strike.

Cinzia Arruzza teaches philosophy at the New School in NYC and she is a feminist and socialist activist. She is the author of Dangerous Liaisons. The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism (2013) and she was one of the national organizers of the International Women's Strike on March 8th.

L.A. Kauffman is the author of Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism. She has spent more than thirty years immersed in radical movements as a participant, strategist, journalist, and observer. Kauffman was the mobilizing coordinator for the huge New York protests against the Iraq War in 2003-04. Her writings on American radicalism and social movement history have been published in The Nation, n+1, The Baffler, and many other outlets.

A Member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Chase Iron Eyes has a distinguished career fighting for the civil rights of Native Americans. He currently serves as lead local counsel in the Dakotas for Lakota People’s Law Project, and he co-founded the Native news website LastRealIndians.com. He was the Democratic nominee for North Dakota Congress in 2016, and is an activist who is also known for the Native Lives Matter movement. Chase holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and American Indian studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Juris Doctor of Law degree with an emphasis in Federal Indian law from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. He has spent much of his life valiantly protecting sacred sites, safeguarding Tribal lands, fighting for environmental concerns, and working to promote the development of tribal governance. For the past several months, Chase has been involved on the front lines of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, hosting tribal leadership, providing legal services, and joining the Water Protectors in their prayerful and peaceful protests. Chase is married to Sara Jumping Eagle and together they are the parents of three children.

Madonna Thunder Hawk is a member of the Oohenumpa band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and is grandmother to a generation of Native American activists. She was an original member of the American Indian Movement, a co-founder of Women of All Red Nations (WARN), and is currently the Lakota People's Law Project's principal organizer and Tribal Liaison. Madonna has been featured in several documentary films including the recent PBS series We Shall Remain. Through her work, Madonna builds alliances and support for Child Welfare among South Dakota's tribal leaders and communities.

Nancy Romer is a climate and food justice activist. She was professor of psychology at Brooklyn College for 42 years and was active in anti-racist, feminist, union and anti-war organizing at CUNY. She was a founder of the Brooklyn Food Coalition and has travelled extensively and written about peasant and agricultural movements, in South America, Central America, the Indian subcontinent and the US. She learned first hand how agribusiness and the financialilzation of food, land and water have destroyed peasant farms and communities and has contributed to climate change through mass deforestation. She travelled to Standing Rock in November working in one of the many cooking tents. She serves on the New York Steering Committee of the April 29th DC March for Climate, Jobs and Justice and an active member of the Environmental Justice Committee of Professional Staff Congress-CUNY (AFT #2334), She is a recently retired TIAA investor and active in the TIAA anti-Land Grabs and Deforestation campaign.

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